What Type of DNS Record Is Used for Email Servers: An Introduction

What Type of DNS Record Is Used for Email Servers? A Introductory Guide

Final: What Type of DNS Record Is Used for Email Servers

The type of DNS record used for email servers is called an MX record, also known as a Mail Exchange record. In simple terms, this record points to the server that should receive an email for a specific domain.

When you send an email, your email service checks the MX record of the recipient’s domain. This MX record acts like an address book, telling your email service where to deliver the message. It’s an important step in the email process, ensuring that your messages reach the correct destination.

Key Highlights

  • The type of DNS record that tells emails where to go for a certain website is called an MX record
  • MX records help emails go to the right place, but if set up wrong, emails might not be delivered, or you could get more spam
  • It’s important to know what type of DNS record is used for email servers because it aids in setting up, troubleshooting, and enhancing the security of your email services

What Are DNS Records?

DNS records, short for Domain Name System records, are instructions stored on DNS servers. They guide internet traffic to the correct locations. For example, when you type a URL into your browser, they help translate that human-readable web address into an IP address that computers can understand and use to load the correct webpage.

What Are the Different Types of DNS Records?

There’s a whole world of DNS records out there, just like different types of signs in a town. Let’s take a quick tour to see some of the most important ones.

A Records

“A” stands for “Address” in A records. These records link your domain name, like “mywebsite.com,” to an IP address, the unique number of your website’s home on the internet. These are commonly used for websites and other services that need a direct IP address connection.

CNAME Records

CNAME records or “Canonical Name” records allow one domain to be known by multiple names. It’s like a shop with different signs, such as “Joe’s Coffee” or “The Local Coffee Spot,” but they all lead to the same place. These records are handy when you want to direct multiple domain names to one website or server.

NS Records

NS (Name Server) records help translate domain names into IP addresses, allowing internet users to access your website. They are like the internet’s address book. Without them, your website may not be reachable or experience DNS-related issues.

TXT Records

TXT records hold text information for sources outside your domain. They can include your site’s ownership info or verification for services, such as Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM).

Imagine TXT records as a tag on a suitcase, giving important details about who it belongs to and where it’s from. They are often used for domain verification, email authentication, and other informational text.

MX Records

MX, or Mail Exchange records, handles your email. They point emails sent to your domain to the correct email server. They’re like the mail carriers of the internet, knowing exactly where to deliver your mail.

What Type of DNS Record Is Used for Email Servers?

The DNS record used for email servers is called an MX record. It acts as a digital address label for emails, providing instructions to the internet on where to deliver them.

Just like an address label on a letter helps the post office deliver it to the right place, an MX record guides email messages to the correct email server for the recipient’s domain. This ensures your emails are delivered promptly and accurately to the intended recipients.

How MX Records Work for Email Delivery

Final: What Type of DNS Record Is Used for Email Servers

Every day, people send and get over 306 billion emails. That’s a lot of messages flying around. But how do they all end up in the right place? That’s where MX records come in.

MX records act like address labels on envelopes. Your email service provider checks the MX record of the recipient’s domain to find the right email server. Here’s how they work for email delivery:

MX Record Lookup and Priority

When your email service provider needs to find the right place to send your email, it checks the MX record. This list has the address of the email server it needs to use, plus a value showing how important each server is. The smaller the value, the more important the server.

Your email service will always try to use the most important (smallest number) servers first. If these servers are not working, it then tries the less important (bigger number) ones.

Email Routing and Delivery

Based on the MX record list, your email service sends your message to the right email server. That server then puts the email in the recipient’s inbox or sends it along to other servers if they’re the ones taking care of the recipient’s email.

The Importance of MX Records for Email Servers

MX records are incredibly important for email servers to work effectively. Let’s explore why MX records matter so much in making sure your emails get delivered reliably.

Reliable Email Delivery with Proper MX Records

By 2025, we’ll have about 4.6 billion people using email around the world. That’s why MX records are so important. They help make sure your emails get to the right people.

Your email service looks at the MX records when you send an email. These records help find the right server that receives emails for the person you’re emailing. This makes sure your emails get to where they need to go quickly and reliably.

Reducing Email Delivery Issues

By setting up your MX records correctly, you can minimize problems with email delivery. Accurate MX records help avoid spam filters and prevent your emails from getting blocked by recipient email systems. This improves the chances of your emails landing safely in the recipients’ inboxes.

Flexibility and Scalability

MX records provide flexibility and scalability for managing your email servers. You can easily route emails to different servers, whether hosted on your premises or provided by third-party email service providers. This lets you adapt your email infrastructure to your changing needs.

The Structure of an MX Record

Before we talk about how MX records do their job, let’s look at what they’re made of. An MX record has a few key parts that help your email get to where it’s supposed to go. Normally, an MX record has:

  • Priority: Each MX record has a priority value that determines the order in which email servers should be tried for delivery. A lower priority value means higher priority, so servers with lower values are tried first.
  • Domain or Hostname: The MX record specifies the domain or hostname of the email server responsible for receiving emails for a specific domain. It identifies the server by its name.
  • IP Address: The MX record contains the IP address associated with the email server. This IP address serves as the precise location where email messages should be directed.

How to Set Up MX Records

Final: What Type of DNS Record Is Used for Email Servers

Setting up MX records is like giving your emails a map, so they reach the right place. Let’s go through the steps to set up MX records and make sure your emails get to who they’re supposed to.

Here’s what you need to do to set up MX records:

  1. Identify the Email Server

Figure out which email server will handle your incoming emails. This could be a server provided by your email hosting company or your own email server.

  1. Access DNS Settings

Log in to the DNS management console of your domain registrar or DNS hosting provider. Find the DNS settings for your domain.

  1. Add MX Records

Look for the option to add or edit DNS records. Enter the MX records by providing the priority, domain or hostname, and IP address of the email server. Make sure to enter the information accurately for proper email routing.

  1. Set the Priority Order

If you have multiple MX records, assign different priority values to indicate the preferred order of email servers. Lower priority values mean higher priority.

  1. Save Changes

After adding the MX records, save your changes in the DNS management console. It might take some time for the changes to spread across the internet.

How to Verify MX Record Setup

After setting up your MX records, checking if everything is set up correctly is crucial. You can use online tools or command-line utilities like nslookup or dig.

To verify the MX record setup, follow these tips:

Use Online DNS Lookup Tools

Go to an online DNS lookup tool, like Google’s G Suite Toolbox or MXToolbox.com, and enter your domain name. It will show you the MX records associated with your domain. Compare these records with the information you entered during the setup to ensure they match.

Try Command-Line Utilities

If you’re comfortable using command-line tools, you can use nslookup or dig on your computer. Open a command prompt or terminal, enter the appropriate command with your domain name, and it will display the MX records. Check if they match the records you set up.

How to Monitor Test Email Delivery

Final: What Type of DNS Record Is Used for Email Servers

Once you have set up and verified your MX records, it’s a good idea to test your email delivery to make sure everything is working properly. Follow these steps to test the delivery of your emails:

Send Test Emails

Think of this step as a test drive for your emails. Send emails from your account to various addresses, using different email services and domains. This helps you test how your emails behave under different conditions.

Check Delivery

Monitor the delivery of your test emails and check if they reach the intended recipients’ inboxes. If the emails are successfully delivered without any errors or delays, your MX records are correctly configured.

Troubleshoot if Needed

If your emails aren’t getting delivered right, take another look at your MX records. Make sure they match what your email service has given you. If you’re stuck, don’t worry. You can look at the help guides or ask your email service for help.


MX records are like GPS for your emails, helping them reach the right destination. In this guide, we’ve explored different DNS records and understood the unique role MX records play in email delivery. We’ve also seen the importance of their structure and learned how to set them up and verify their correct setup.

Understanding which type of DNS record is used for email servers is vital. Emails are an integral part of our daily communication, and having a grasp of how MX records function ensures your messages are delivered efficiently. So, continue to explore and learn more about this essential component of your email system.

Next Steps: What Now?

Further Reading (Useful Resources)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I have multiple MX records for my domain?

Yes, you can have multiple MX records. They help ensure that if one email server is unavailable, the email can be delivered to an alternative server.

How do I set up MX records for my email server?

To set up MX records, you need to access your domain’s settings and add the required information, such as the priority, domain or hostname, and IP address of your email server.

What happens if the MX record is misconfigured or missing?

If the MX record is misconfigured or missing, emails sent to your domain may not be delivered. Double-checking and correctly setting up the MX record is important to avoid any issues.

How long does it take for MX record changes to take effect?

After making changes to your MX records, it can take a few hours up to 48 hours for the changes to take effect due to DNS propagation.

Can I use an IP address instead of a domain or hostname in an MX record?

Yes, you can use an IP address in an MX record, but it’s usually recommended to use a domain or hostname for flexibility in case the IP address changes.

Is it possible for MX records to point to a CNAME?

No. According to the internet standards defined in RFC 2181, MX records should not point directly to a CNAME. Instead, they should point to a hostname (A or AAAA record). If you set up an MX record to point to a CNAME, it might lead to problems with email delivery.

HostAdvice Speaks to ScalaHosting: An Interview with Chris Rusev

HostAdvice had the opportunity to speak with Chris Rusev, the CEO and co-founder of , a web hosting company that offers shared, cloud VPS, and res...
8 min read
Eddie Segal
Eddie Segal
Digital Marketing Specialist

Email Deliverability: What Is It, Key Factors & Best Practices

What is Email Deliverability? Think of it like mailing a letter and making sure it lands right in the recipient's hands, not lost or thrown...
17 min read
Ela Gal-Kfir
Ela Gal-Kfir
Digital Marketing Specialist

Email Marketing vs. Social Media: Which is More Effective?

What is Email Marketing? Email marketing is a  that involves companies reaching out to potential and existing customers via email ...
10 min read
Ela Gal-Kfir
Ela Gal-Kfir
Digital Marketing Specialist

Email Engagement Metrics, Calculation & Best Practices

Email engagement tells us how interested recipients are in the content of emails they receive. It provides insights into what types of em...
12 min read
Ela Gal-Kfir
Ela Gal-Kfir
Digital Marketing Specialist
HostAdvice.com provides professional web hosting reviews fully independent of any other entity. Our reviews are unbiased, honest, and apply the same evaluation standards to all those reviewed. While monetary compensation is received from a few of the companies listed on this site, compensation of services and products have no influence on the direction or conclusions of our reviews. Nor does the compensation influence our rankings for certain host companies. This compensation covers account purchasing costs, testing costs and royalties paid to reviewers.
Click to go to the top of the page
Go To Top